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The Woman Beneath the Skin: A Doctor's Patients in Eighteenth-Century Germany

Duden, Barbara

Verlag: Harvard University Press, 1991
ISBN 10: 0674954033 / ISBN 13: 9780674954038
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Titel: The Woman Beneath the Skin: A Doctor's ...

Verlag: Harvard University Press

Erscheinungsdatum: 1991

Zustand: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 2-3 weeks. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 9780674954038-3

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Inhaltsangabe: Despite historians' interest in cultural representations of the body, we tend to think of human anatomy and physiology as scientific fact, not historical artifact. In this study Barbara Duden asserts that the most basic biological and medical teams that we use to describe our own bodies - male or female, healthy or sick - are indeed cultural constructions. She sets out to cross the traditional boundary between history and nature by gaining access to the inner existence of a group of women who lived in bodies very different from our own. These women were the patients of Johann Storch, a physician who lives and worked in the town of Eisenach, Germany, during the first half of the 18th century. Storch meticulously documented the medical histories of approximately 1800 women of all ages and social stations, often in their own words. This rich and unique record of complaints, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments reveals an alien understanding of the female body and its function. Physical processes - digestion, menstruation, pregnancy - were not associated with discrete internal organs. Blood ebbed and flowed rather than circulated; pregnancy did not exist until quickening; menses could be discharged in the form of tears. Physical examination was not necessary to medical care, and in many cases the doctor had no direct contact with his patient. Barbara Duden uses his material to reanimates the female body that Johann Storch treated and that his patients inhabited, showing that its structure, function and meaning - and therefore those of our own bodies - belong to history as well as to nature.

Über den Autor: Barbara Duden has been on the faculty of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Pennsylvania State University and is currently a Fellow at the Institute for Cultural Studies, Essen, Germany.

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